Naughty or nice? Santa's gifts to the players
December, 23, 2013
By Peter Bodo | ESPN.com
Santa is making his rounds again in this space, with gifts for ATP and WTA pros great and small. So let’s take a sneak peek into that overloaded sleigh:
Rafael Nadal: A pair of tennis shoes that are actually the right size. You’ve all heard or read that Nadal wears shoes at least a full size too small. (He’s said to be an 11 1/2, but wears a 10.) I say that after having won 13 Grand Slam titles, you ought to be entitled to wear what elderly British ladies call “sensible shoes” and what we might classify as comfy kicks. All you Federer fanatics and Djokovic maniacs ought to remember that old saying about not judging anyone until you’ve "walked a mile in his shoes."
Serena Williams: A worthy rival ... aw, forget it. Too late for that. She gets fruitcake and a pair of gloves.
Roger Federer: A win over Federico Delbonis, because a great player like Federer ought to get at least one win in his head-to-head record against anyone. Just ask Andy Roddick.
Maria Sharapova: For the owner and founder of Sugarpova, an excellent Beverly Hills dentist.
Novak Djokovic: A Rosetta Stone program to learn German. Ja?
Petra Kvitova: A DVD of the 2011 Wimbledon women's final.
Tomas Berdych: A title in 2014.
Caroline Wozniacki: A new coach or a new father, whichever happens to be available first -- and it has to be one or the other!
Tommy Haas: One of Roger Federer’s Grand Slam titles. What the heck: Federer has 17 of them, and Haas needs to get off that “best player to never win a major” list.
Samantha Stosur: A GPS unit so she can find her way back toward the top of her game.
Viktor Troicki: Five free anger-management classes, redeemable while he serves his suspension for violating the anti-doping protocols.
Sabine Lisicki: Another chance in a Grand Slam final.
Benoit Paire: Better judgment.
Jelena Jankovic: One of Serena Williams' Grand Slam titles. Roger Federer would get really steamed if Serena had more majors.
Nicolas Almagro: A little respect.
Ana Ivanovic: A nicely stitched sampler containing some nauseating platitude about it not being about winning or losing but “how you play the game.” Does any Grand Slam champ and former No. 1 work as hard as Ivanovic but end up taking one step forward and two steps back?
Gael Monfils: A copy of Brad Gilbert’s book, “Winning Ugly.”
Sloane Stephens: A cooler full of Haagen-Dazs macadamia nut brittle ice cream flown in overnight from Paris, apparently the only place in the free world where the flavor is available.
Radek Stepanek: His own replica Davis Cup trophy to keep forever.
Laura Robson: Andy Murray’s work ethic.
Andy Murray: Laura Robson’s lefty serve.
Bernard Tomic: A new ... aw, forget it. Some targets are just too big.
Kimiko Date-Krumm: Any danged thing she wants.
Venus Williams: One more big win. You have to admire the way she’s continue to plug away, as well as her commitment to doubles. Venus and Serena and Mike and Bob Bryan are almost single-handedly keeping the game of doubles alive.
Bob and Mike Bryan: An exhibition doubles match featuring the Williams sisters. Mixed, and men versus women. There’s nothing wrong with tennis that’s just plain fun.
Grigor Dimitrov: A vanity plate for his ridiculously flashy sports car: BBYFED.
Simona Halep: A little press.
Ryan Harrison: Hope.